A popular training tool for health care professionals, medical simulations offer a realistic but safe environment to practice skills and decision making during an unfolding medical incident. But are laypeople aware of these facilities and their capabilities, and would experiencing a medical simulation alter their overall health care perceptions and trust in providers? Faculty members from the Department of Economics and researchers from Peoria’s JUMP Simulation Center teamed up to find out. Divided into three groups, 137 adult participants took part in the study. Two groups visited JUMP, one touring the facility and the other viewing a medical simulation involving a pediatric patient. Both viewed a video and completed pre- and post- surveys. A third, online control group only filled out the same survey about their feelings about patient safety, trust in the health care system and medical malpractice.

Though the study found exposure to health care simulation produced limited changes in surveyed attitudes, participants reported a positive experience, and collaborations between economics faculty and JUMP researchers will continue. “Going through a simulation affected my perceptions of the challenges health care professionals face every day,” said Joshua Lewer, McCord Professor and department chair, who was part of a medical simulation at JUMP in 2017.